Cross-border (Estonia-Finland) FinEst Centre for Smart Cities.

The project will create a centre of excellence that will focus on developing research and cross-border innovation networks and capabilities in five domains – data, governance, mobility, energy, built environment – as well as on advancing the joint smart city environment and cross-border services between Tallinn and Helsinki. The Centre will further the European Digital Single market as well as the integration of Estonian and Finnish e-government, while also boosting university-industry collaboration and private-sector innovation and export capacities in the Talsinki area.

Our research group is responsible for the Mobility stream aiming to the development of smart mobility strategies and applications:

  • managing effectively the transport demand and supply through mobility and traffic management, seamless multimodal transport, and the promotion of sustainable modes of transport
  • considering emerging vehicle technologies (e.g., connected and automated vehicles)
  • people’s mobility needs and values, developing cyber-physical systems and data analysis solutions
  • technological development and transition processes, also designing new forms of sharing transportation and new ways of pricing
  • mobility-specific living lab activities building a data-rich environment, allowing for testing future technologies, transport solutions, business, and innovation models.

The stream is jointly coordinated by Aalto University ass. prof. Claudio Roncoli and TalTech prof. of robotics Raivo Sell

This project has received funding from the European Commission (H2020 grant No. 856602) and the Estonian Government (Estonian Ministry for Education and Research).

On the frame of the main FinEst Twins project, a large-scale Mobility project is started.

A conceptual ecosystem solution to transport system management

The idea is to develop a new conceptual ecosystem solution for transport system management of the near future, where additionally to the existing means of transport, first/last mile self-driving shuttles and micro mobility solutions are going to play an important role. To get people to choose more frequent public transport instead of their personal cars in urban environment, a significantly more flexible and user-friendly approach is highly required, which is also one of the project’s priorities. One of the main outcomes of the pilot project is a data exchange platform of different transport systems, that enables unified data exchange between different service providers and end-user applications.The pilot will test an interconnected on-demand based full transport solution from passenger’s home (in this pilot from Rae parish) to capital city hubs (i.e. Ülemiste City & Tallinn harbour) and beyond (i.e. over the sea to Helsinki). The data exchange platform will be connected with existing municipal/governmental databases and create open-access new data sets in order to offer personalized on-demand pro-active services. The practical pilot includes self-driving AV shuttles on-demand service in sub-urban areas connected to main public transport and micro mobility service providers in the capital city. AV shuttles are going to be remanufactured from end-of-life electrical vehicles in order to re-engineer the electromechanical platform and lithium batteries, thus significantly reducing the environmental footprint and making AV shuttles affordable to local counties. The final outcome of the project will be a future city transport model, that has been tested in a real urban environment and implementation toolkit for cities and urban areas all over the world. The project’s main partners are Aalto University in Finland, the City of Tallinn and Rae Parish, as well as a wide circle of external partners in government, other universities, private companies and non-profit organizations.

The whole solution will be designed and piloted by keeping in mind the wider aspect, repeatability and scalability issues. Interfaces and software components will be compatible with standards and similar developments in governmental and international level. While setting up and conducting the pilot project – the next selection of Estonian counties and local authorities will be chosen, in order to allow smooth transfer and cloning of previously developed solutions. Interested counties will be invited to monitor and study the pilot in Rae parish. At the end of the project, results of the pilot and good practices will be wrapped as a modular concept and guidelines, reporting how to clone the solution nationally and internationally.

The key aspects of the pilot:

1. Environmentally sustainable
2. Novel public transport data exchange MaaS platform, that will connect people in rural areas to big road transport corridors as well as main transport hubs in big cities
3. Big data collection renewed in real-time by autonomous vehicles
4. The ability to offer services based on AI and big data

Main research topics, that the pilot project is focusing on:

  • Developing the concept of transport management ecosystem based on new technologies
  • The structure of big data and implementation of AI methods to develop new services
  • The technological solution of collecting big data by combining sensors’ (lidar, radar, camera) outputs
  • Autonomous vehicles effect and demands infrastructure and city planning
  • Circular economy example solution of rebuilding electrical vehicles and reuse of lithium batteries
  • Safety assessment methodology, testing and validation of Autonomous Vehicles

With additional research potential through getting extensive data from experiments, user experiences, creating methodology, modelling & simulations to safely bring autonomous vehicles on our streets.


This project is led by Prof. Raivo Sell from TalTech.

The pilot is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian Ministry of Research and Education.

About the Smart City Challenge

We, TalTech from Estonia and Aalto University from Finland, have been looking for ideas to make the following domains in the cities smarter: mobility, energy, built environment, governance and data. There must be at least two cities involved in each pilot project. One of these has to be from Estonia and the second could be from another country. We expect the results of the projects to be world-level research and scalable prototypes.  The FinEst Twins Smart City of Excellence has been given the mandate by the European Commission and the Estonian Ministry of Research and Education to carry out 10 research-intensive pilot projects targeting real-life challenges and have a remarkable impact on the cities. 15 million euros has been granted to make it happen during 2021–2027. The FinEst Twins Steering Committee has approved the action plans and budget for the first half-year for these four projects and the project leaders now will prepare the concrete research and innovation plans with measurable goals to monitor the progress of their projects. Similar challenges will take place also in the next coming years with possible changes in the target challenges and length, financing amounts per project.

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